Meatless Monday: Chocolate For Dinner
Valentine's Day is tomorrow but since February is basically a month-long excuse to eat a whole bunch of chocolate, don't wait till tomorrow to indulge. If you haven't already been eating chocolate daily, start today, and have some for dinner. Now, don't go all crazy and eat cake for dinner; there are plenty of savory recipes that call for cocoa, like Chocolate Pasta and mole sauce.
Mole is a dark, rich, traditional Mexican sauce (mole means "concoction" in the Aztec dialect Nahuatl); it varies in color and flavor based on the recipe or what the cook has in their kitchen, but it's generally made with onion, garlic, chilies, ground seeds (like sesame or pepian) and a bit of bitter chocolate. The chocolate adds depth to the sauce without over sweetness, since unsweetened or Mexican chocolate is used. Mole sauce is usually served with chicken, so you won't find too many vegetarian mole dishes at Mexican restaurants. But just like tomato sauce isn't just for meatballs, mole isn't just for chicken. Make it at home and serve it over nachos, slathered on top of spinach or black bean enchiladas, or with poached eggs and creamy rice, like in Bobby Flay's Poached Eggs in Mole With Creamy Green Rice. Bobby serves his meatless mole dish for brunch in an episode of Brunch@Bobby's dedicated to chocolate, but this savory dish would make a great dinner, as well.
Poached Eggs in Mole With Creamy Green Rice
Makes: 4 servings
1 1/2 cups chicken stock, warmed (substitute vegetable stock to keep it meatless)
Put the almonds in a medium saucepan over medium heat and cook until lightly golden brown, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes. Remove the almonds to a plate. Increase the heat to high, add the oil to the saucepan and heat until it begins to shimmer. Add the garlic and onions and cook until soft, about 4 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes, chipotle puree, the chile powders, cinnamon, allspice and cloves. Bring to a boil and cook for 10 minutes. Next, add the mangoes, raisins, corn tortillas, molasses, honey, maple syrup and almonds. Pour in the warmed stock and cook, stirring occasionally, until the mangoes are soft and the mixture is reduced by half, about 50 minutes.
Carefully transfer the mixture to a blender and blend until smooth. Return the mixture to the pan over high heat. Add the chocolate and cook until reduced to a sauce consistency, about 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Pour the mole into a medium, high-sided saute pan and bring to a simmer. Crack the eggs one a time into a ramekin and carefully slip into the mole. Sprinkle the tops of the eggs with salt and pepper. Transfer the pan to the oven and cook until the whites are just set and the yolks are still jiggly, about 12 minutes.
Spoon some of the Creamy Green Rice into a shallow bowl and make an indention in the center. Put the egg in the center and spoon some of the mole over the egg. Sprinkle with the cheeses and garnish with cilantro leaves.
Place the heavy cream in a small saucepan over high heat and bring to boil. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer until reduced by half.
While the cream is reducing, bring 2 3/4 cups water to a boil in a medium saucepan over high heat. Stir in the rice and season with salt. Bring to a boil again, stir, place a lid on the pan, reduce the heat to medium and cook until all of the liquid is absorbed, 15 to 18 minutes.
Remove the rice from the heat and let sit for 5 minutes with the lid on. Remove the lid and fluff with a fork. Return the rice to the stove over medium heat, add the reduced cream and season with salt and pepper. Stir in the cilantro, green onions and poblanos.
And in case you want some vegetables along with your chocolate, try this heart-shaped beet salad recipe that the good people at Meatless Monday are sharing for Valentine's Day.